Murder detectives arrest man over firework arson attack at house

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Detectives investigating the murder of a father in an arson attack involving a firework have arrested a suspect.

Anthony Nicholls, 56, known as Tony, was placed in an induced coma when the firework was set off at his home in Tile Cross, Birmingham, on November 2. He died five days later.

West Midlands Police said the 29-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder on Wednesday.

Mr Nicholls had been enjoying a Chinese takeaway with his partner when a group of men burst into his home on Birchtrees Drive at around 11.20pm, police said.

They lit an “industrial-sized” firework, containing around 200 tubes of explosives, which caused a major fire. It is thought the explosive would have taken around two minutes to fully discharge.

Firefighters rushed him to hospital but he died from his injuries.

His partner, a 50-year-old woman, was left with life-changing injuries after jumping from a first floor window, police said.

Damage to Mr Nicholls' home
Damage to Mr Nicholls’ home (Aaron Chown/PA)

Police offered a £10,000 reward for information about the “cowardly” murder.

An image released by police last week showed a box of a “Colossus Finale” explosive, with a recommended retail price of £129.99.

On Monday, his daughter Fiona Nicholls said: “It’s horrendous what’s happened to my dad. Words can’t describe how me and my family are feeling.

“My dad made no enemies. He was hard-working, he was a funny man. I just want someone to come forward and give any information whatsoever.”

It remains unclear what the motive for the attack was, officers said on Monday.

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